Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Saving Lincoln Movie & Friday Flash 55 "Booth's Lament"



The website is www.savinglincoln.com  . Please do not confuse with the movie "Lincoln" starring Daniel Day Lewis - which I also really loved!)

This really looks interesting - told from the perspective of Lincoln's law partner and self-proclaimed body guard, Ward Hill Lamon.  It is an independent (epic) film, and one can donate and help them finance the film's release at Kickstarter (it is on the above link).

I also just watched on Netflix "History's Mysteries: Lincoln: The Untold Stories"  It explores writings by his former law partner and friend, William Herndon, who felt it was his duty to be the biographer of the "real" Lincoln.  Herndon didn't like the "mythical-like" portraiture Lincoln was fast accumulating after his death and wanted the real Lincoln, whom he admired and loved, to be known.  The public didn't take to it and it sat in the Library of Congress for years, ridiculed by historians.  Not until the 1980's did it get "dusted off" and examined.   I believe the book is entitled: "Herndon's Lincoln" and I will be downloading it on my Nook.

I wrote a Friday Flash 55 last summer and I don't think I ever posted it.  I am digging it up and posting it now. It is about Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth.

Also linking with Dverse Open Link Night #80.

 

John Wilkes Booth's Lament

Our cause being lost,

I have given up all
that makes life sweet and holy.

Repent?  I may before God,
but not man.

With the curse of Cain
I must fight the course,

and why?

God simply made me
the instrument of his punishment!

May He let me die bravely;
'tis all that's left me.

by Margaret Bednar, Art Happens 365, July 5, 2012 (selected words from last diary entry)

Below is the appointment book John Wilkes Booth carried on his body and wrote in after the April 14 assassination.  HERE is the entire entry.  Being an actor, he loved words, drama, and the limelight, but I took the liberty to shorten it for him in 55 words in the above poem.



The first place I visited in Washington D.C. was Ford's Theatre.  I sat in the seats and looked up into the balcony where Booth shot President Lincoln and then he jumped to the stage shouting in Latin "Sic simper Tyrannis" (Thus always to tyrants).  


A walked the winding stairs upon which Booth tread, derringer in his pocket, vengeance in his heart.  Before Gettysburg, Booth's original plan was to kidnap Lincoln and transport him to the South.  If he had been successful, would history have rewritten him a hero as the "winner" writes the pages of history?


The museum under the theatre is amazing.  I spent two hours slowly absorbing history and viewing the actual pieces that carried out this tragic deed.  Booth's actions killed the very man who would have shown compassion and forgiveness to the South... instead, healing took a very, very long time.



And if you are REALLY a Lincoln follower, there is also a book "Herndon's Informants":  Publication of this long-awaited volume makes available for the first time in complete and accessible form the most important source of information on Lincoln's early life. For twenty-five years after the president's death William Herndon, his law partner, conducted interviews with and solicited letters from dozens of persons who knew Lincoln personally. Up to now, the valuable information he collected has been available only in a microfilm edition in the Library of Congress, of such poor quality that it has been rarely used, particularly since there was no table of contents or adequate index, and in collections at the Huntington Library and the Illinois State Historical Library. The only previous publication of Herndon's materials, more than a half century ago, contains less than 10 percent of the collection and is so unreliable that scholars have hesitated to use it. Douglas Wilson and Rodney Davis have earned the gratitude and admiration of scholars by taking on the daunting task of collating the collections in the three libraries, painstakingly deciphering the all but illegible handwriting of Herndon and some of his informants, and carefully documenting the entire work.

How cool is that?  I will be buying this book as well.  (I just bought it through B&N.  I had to order it though, they said that the publisher has designated it a "must order" book - it isn't to be stocked.   I wonder why? It isn't that expensive.  It will be shipped directly to my door, though.)

For those with further interest, following is a link which claims might have the earliest known portrait of a young Abraham Lincoln:

http://www.lincolnportrait.com/index.html

33 comments:

Ginnie said...

I'm so fascinated that you went first to the Ford Theatre once in D.C., Margaret. I have a feeling you and my mom would really enjoy each other...because she was such a huge student of history!

Brian Miller said...

dang...those last 4 lines are really tight and with punch a bit as well...will have to check out this movie...going to see lincoln this weekend...and did you know my son was almost in it?

Margaret said...

I do remember that. Was just thinking of it this morning. I saw Lincoln twice. Will purchase it when it is available. Enjoy!

Poet Laundry said...

Chilling. I haven't seen the movie yet. Looking forward to it though. Your photos are awesome.

Gail said...

Well done.

Good information.

Mama Zen said...

Fascinating stuff, Margaret!

Ginny Brannan said...

I love history, and find Lincoln so fascinating! Have seen History specials on him, have stood on the battlefields of Gettysburg reading Lincoln's address, which never fails to move me. Recently saw the Daniel Day Lewis movie Lincoln, which humanized him more for me,sharing his sense of humor and even more so, the incredible intelligence of this self-taught man. Am currently reading a book my husband just finished, Killing Lincoln by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard. Really enjoyed your pictures! Thank you for taking us into Ford's Theater. Never been there, but plan to go whenever we get to D.C. again. Thanks for sharing the books too, will pull them up for my Kindle. Loved your poem too. I think it is a well-written view as seen through the eyes of the assassin. Always love to check out your page, you always have such a well-informed, well-rounded take on what you share, and you never disappoint!!

Margaret said...

Ginnie - you said the same thing back in the summer !! :) I agree! and you and I would have a blast as well

Ginny - Awe, shucks! I blush because I feel you are amazing and light years ahead of me... I'm just trying to shuffle along here, playing with words.

Other Mary said...

Great poem and images from the Ford Theatre Margaret. I was there back when by daughter was in 6th grade, that was the big school trip. I don't remember seeing Booth's diary entry though - that's amazing! (I do remember the post or tree full of abc gum out front. Why does THAT of all things stay with me???). Anyway, I really like your shortened and very dramatic poem.

Laura said...

very interesting Margaret... especially your take from Booth's perspective.

Heaven said...

Interesting perspective Margaret ~ Hubby and I watched Lincoln by Daniel Lewis last weekend and really enjoyed it. ~ It would be nice someday to visit the actual places, thanks for sharing the photos ~

Fireblossom said...

I've been to Ford's Theater, with my parents, when I was eleven. I remember that staircase!

The chair Lincoln was sitting in when he was shot, is--or at least was--on display near here at Greenfield Village & The Henry Ford Museum.

Gretchen Leary said...

Huge fan of Lincoln here. Great poem. Very strong.

manicddaily said...

I thought Lincoln the movie was also just great and so interesting to read your poem re Booth. (And Lincoln the man beyond great.)

You know if you do a search on youtube there is a "what's my line" old TV clip with the last surviving witness of Lincoln's assassination. There is something fascinating about it -- the guy is quite old of course, but the idea that a witness lived into the age of TV is really quite something. It shows how recent all this is. k.

PS - I grew up in DC. I remember when they reopened Fords (I'm thinking it was late 60s? early 70's) and went to it then--it was/is quite something.

k.

Margaret said...

K - thanks. I you tubed the 96 hear old gentlemen. It really wasn't that long ago.

Claudia said...

i have yet to watch the movie but it's def. on my list.. and dang that lament was tightly written...gave me shivers...

James Rainsford said...

Great photographs. Your poem is also well constructed.
I found it very interesting that you made John Wilkes Booth's Lament yet another religious justification for murder.

Margaret said...

It was condensed from his own journal written while fleeing the assassination.

Margaret said...

"Lincoln" is a big budget movie while "Saving Lincoln" is a small independent film.

Kim Nelson said...

Booth has never been so eloquently represented. A fabulous paradigm shift, Margaret.

G-Man said...

Margaret Bednar...
Even though I've done all this several times. Your tour and Historical Perspective was riveting.
Loved your 55.
Your going to think I'm crazy but there are theories that Booth actually got away, and the guy that they thought was JWB...Wasn't!
They are very plausable.
Thanks for this great post, and have a Kick Ass Week-End

(I hope your feeling better..xx)

Margaret said...

Galen - I don't think it is crazy, everything was so rushed. BUT, knowing what a showman he was, I find it hard to believe he could have kept his mouth shut. But, it would be fascinating to read of the possibility.

Nimue said...

that was a lovely tour Margret !
Specially good with the 55 flash fiction thrown in :D

Alice Audrey said...

I loved the one with Danial Day Lewis. This also looks like it could give me insight into the man.

brandi said...

Your blog is Art Happens, and it definitely has with this 55!

anthonynorth said...

Informative post and I enjoyed the 55.

izzy said...

Love anything Lincoln ! you have remade my day thanks!
I have no sympathy for Booth- you are most generous with your empathy in 55! ( If you read my 55 it tells you my roiling S.O.M. ) Nice to be re- railed !

Margaret said...

Not MY sympathies. I just reworded his lament. He did far more damage to the south's recovery by assassinating Lincoln.

razzamadazzle said...

Love all the historical information and history here. Great poem as well.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Having just seen Lincoln, I enjoyed this post. Thanks. The pictures are riveting.

Other Mary said...

Hey Margaret - I read this at dVerse maybe, but just wanted to say once more how I much I like this. And I heard an interview on WI Public Radio the other day that made me think of you. It was with the author of a book about Mrs. Lincoln's dressmaker. Really interesting. Have a great weekend.

bunnygirl said...

Brilliant idea for a 55, and a brilliant idea for something to do in DC. I wish I had thought of it when I was there.

myheartslovesongs.com said...

your poem actually gave me pause to think about Booth's point of view.

all the information on Lincoln is fascinating ~ thanks for sharing. i'm sure i had never seen a photograph of Lincoln as a young man.